Monthly Archives: January 2023

Regional Housing Partnership officials appear before Charlottesville City Council

It has been a year and a half or so since the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission adopted a document called Planning for Affordability that sought to help all six regions in the community update the housing chapter of their respective Comprehensive Plan. 

The work is part of something called the Central Virginia Regional Housing Partnership, a subset of the TJPDC. This month, members of the partnership have been appearing before different elected bodies to share what the group does. Albemarle County’s turn is this Wednesday, but Charlottesville City Council saw the presentation on January 17. (view the presentation)

“The ‘why’ behind the partnership was created is that we all know we have housing affordability issues and its not just specific to any one jurisdiction that’s in the Commission,” said Ned Gallaway, the Rio District representative on the Albemarle Board of Supervisors. “It is a regional issue and while regional solutions may vary depending on if you are urban or rural, perhaps our solutions with our boundaries, but the information sharing, the data collection, and the efforts should be shared to help us all solve the problem.” 

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Weldon Cooper Center estimates show regional growth of 2.5 percent since 2020 Census

The population of the six localities that make up the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission grew by 2.5 percent between the 2020 U.S. Census and the beginning of the fiscal year. 

That’s according to the latest population estimates from the Weldon Cooper Center at the University of Virginia. These are used by the Commonwealth of Virginia for all manner of planning purposes. 

“Population estimates are an important tool used by a variety of state agencies in their planning processes — from developing budgets to determining salaries for public officials,” reads an overview of the website for the data that was made available yesterday. 

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TJPDC gets $275K for eviction diversion program

Earlier this month, Governor Glenn Youngkin’s office announced the distribution of $2.9 million in grants across Virginia for programs to help keep people from being evicted from their homes. That includes an additional $275,000 for the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission for another year of work. (view the TJPDC Eviction Reduction Pilot grant page)

“Funding will support an Eviction Case Management Program at the newly created Financial Opportunity Center / Housing Hub as well as the creation of an eviction prevention case manager position,  a second landlord navigator position and an additional court navigator position,” reads the press release. 

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City hires Charlotte firm to guide new strategic plan for local government

The city of Charlottesville has selected a firm to work on a strategic plan. The Raftelis Financial Consultants of Charlotte, North Carolina will work on the document that is intended to guide the activities of the city’s government. The existing plan was extended after FY20 due to the pandemic and a series of departures by city managers. 

“The process will be closely coordinated with and guided by a Strategic Plan Working Group comprised of City staff members,” reads a request for proposals issued on November 9. “The Working Group envisions a highly engaged consulting role that is deeply involved in gathering, processing, and summarizing the information generated by various consultation and participation processes.”

The consultant will be required to facilitate a strategic planning retreat and work on a plan with goals for calendar years 2023 through 2025. 

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Realtor group seeks greater awareness of Charlottesville zoning rewrite

This week the first concrete details of the city’s next zoning code will be released to the public. The work is part of the Cville Plans Together initiative which has already resulted in an Affordable Housing Plan and a new Comprehensive Plan. Now, the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors has mounted a new campaign to promote what they see as a way toward more affordable places to live. 

“To make Charlottesville more affordable, we need to make housing more livable,” reads the first line of the public service announcement. 

The message is that allowing more density will translate into more affordable price points. 

“So as soon as you’re able, see how the Charlottesville zoning plan will make our city more affordable and livable,” the message continues with a directive to visit the Cville Plans Together website

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Vacant storefronts filling in at Barracks Road Shopping Center

The Charlottesville Office of Economic Development keeps track of six areas across the city to see how well storefronts are doing. Filled or empty? The latest figures were released earlier this month. (view the report)

The study looks at the Downtown Mall, the Corner, Barracks Road Shopping Center, McIntire Plaza, Preston Plaza, and Seminole Square. The report only looks at the ground floor and does not include vacancies if a space is being renovated for a future tenant. Vacant office spaces are also not counted.

The January 2023 vacancy report from the Office of Economic Development
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Charlottesville real estate assessments up an average of 12.33 percent

For the second year in a row, the average real estate assessment increased by double digits, setting up conversations this week about additional revenue that will be generated for the city of Charlottesville.

Residential parcels increased by an average of 11.52 percent, based on 15,148 taxable properties. Commercial properties went up an average of 12.16 percent, and that includes apartment complexes, retail, and office space. When you throw in new construction, the overall average is 12.33 percent. 

Nearly 98 percent of all properties in Charlottesville went up in value, with just over one percent declining. 

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December 2022 transactions: Industrial block in Rose Hill neighborhood sells for $12.75M; Orangedale duplex sells for $270K

How will the final month of 2022 turn out? As I write these words, I have not yet begun compiling this list. I do this work manually and it takes a lot of time to go through. In the early days of this publication, I had more time! Now I’m expanding to Fifth District Community Engagement. There’s a lot less real estate in that one. At least for now. 

I’ve produced these monthly property transaction summaries for two years now and I know I still have a lot to learn. I don’t yet understand all of the mechanisms by which properties trade hands, but I know it’s more important than ever to pay attention to what’s happening. For a community where housing is on the minds of many, I intend this list to be a way for people to know what’s happening.

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Eight candidates have filed for interim seat on Charlottesville City Council

There are still five days to apply to be considered by the four remaining members of City Council to join them on the dais to replace former Councilor Sena Magill. Council will hold a public hearing in February and must make a selection within 45 days of the official start of the vacancy. (apply)

Yesterday the city released the names of eight people who have filed to fill the position. They include one former City Councilor, one former Planning Commissioner, one former School Board member.

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New Albemarle businesses: Progress made toward Praha Bohemian Bakery in Crozet

For now, anyone who seeks to do business in Albemarle has to check with Community Development to make sure the use is permitted. A review of these zoning clearances can yield a lot of information, and here’s a little of what I learned. 

  • A Carytown Tobacco franchise has been approved for a 1,530 square foot unit within the Fifth Street Landing complex on Fifth Street Extended. This is in the same center as a Starbucks and a Christian’s Pizza. The county approved the use on January 17 but noted a building permit is still needed for the unfinished space. 
  • Community Development staff have also signed off on a zoning clearance for Praha Bohemian Bakery and Cafe in the former Crozet Tack and Saddle space at 5778 Three Notch’d Road. Learn more in a January 16 article in the Crozet Gazette.
  • A non-contact program called Rock Steady Boxing wants to operate in 2,500 square feet of space formerly held by the Charlottesville Ballet. The application describes the program as being for people with Parkinson’s Disease. 
  • A non-profit group has filed for a clearance to operate a dance space in Fashion Square Mall in the space where a Charlotte Russe franchise formerly operated. 

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the January 25, 2023 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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